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Pirelli SpA reports first half profit jump

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Pirelli Tire North America (PTNA) Inc. parent company Pirelli SpA's gross operating profit for the first half of 2001 was nearly 432 million euros, a 7.5% increase from 402 million euros reported for the first half of last year.

"The first six months of the year was characterized by a sharp upturn in investments," say Pirelli officials. "These primarily concerned the optimization of manufacture and the start up of new plants for the production of tires using the new MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) technology, as well as for research and development."

PTNA chose Rome, Ga., as the site of its first MIRS facility in North America last March. The plant is expected to produce tires for 2003 model year cars.

The company also opened an original equipment sales office in Southfield, Mich., a Detroit suburb, earlier this year.

"Although (tire) market conditions are not favorable, Pirelli has managed to maintain positions reached in the same period, previous year."

Pirelli SpA's total tire sales for the year 2000 reached the $2.7 billion mark, a 6.3% increase over 1999's results and 39% of its entire sales. The company's cable and systems division accounted for the rest.

Earlier this year, Pirelli said it would invest 350 million euros in its tire division throughout 2001. Nearly 43% of that would be used to build MIRS plants in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

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